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The Power of the Nap

October 5, 2008

by Katherine Wernet

Every weekday here from approximately two to four in the afternoon, a silence sweeps the dorms. There is not a soul to be found. Doors are closed and music ceases to emanate from speakers. Every single student is doing one of two things – either attending class or napping.

Suffering from drowsiness post lunch is completely natural and not a symptom unique to college students. The sudden sleepiness at this time is much akin to the sleepiness experienced right before bedtime. One’s core body temperature is lowering, and the brain is releasing melatonin (a hormone that helps to regulate sleep cycles) (WebMD). The flexibility of the undergraduate’s schedule is only too optimal for the nap.

Some may opt to nap alone, while others seek out equally lackadaisical partners - enjoying a veritable siesta fiesta. Sleeping at the same time as one’s roommate can be a perilous pastime, though. One may wake up only to find the other still sleeping and immediately return to a dreamy state. Hours can pass without either being any the wiser. The unintentional nap is another favorite. It starts out innocent enough - one is merely attempting to do some reading while sprawled out over one’s comforter, maybe even resting one’s head lightly on the pillow. Surprise! Three hours later the reading is not complete, and night has fallen. How many times have we dragged ourselves to dinner at Collins with sleep marks covering our faces? Somehow, it is worth it, though.

Many benefits come from the occasional midday doze. One result is a better memory (WebMD). Rather than attempting in vain to study when lethargic, one could invest time in a nap and increase future study skills. It’s a win-win situation. Napping can even save your life. Just a simple, half hour snooze three times a week can reduce the risk of heart attack by thirty-seven percent (MSNBC). So why not nap?

The nap truly is the CMC student’s best friend. It is not only an inexpensive hobby, but also one with many health benefits. Just try to do it in your room, not in class.

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